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Thread: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

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    Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    I have (and LOVE) a 35 Summicron version IV; the so-called "Bokeh King". It certainly produces a lovely bokeh, but then so do a number of other lenses I own (e.g., my 50 Summicron, my Nocti, my CV 50/1.5 Nokton, my 28 'Cron, just to name a few, as do as a number of Nikon lenses I use regularly).

    So, for the sake of a closer comparison, I shot the 35 'cron, pre ASPH, v.IV against the 35 'cron ASPH. Nothing special about the shots, but the conditions were the same: Tripod mounted M8; self-timer; both have a Leica UV/IR filter attached. Both shot wide open. (I should note that the 35 ASPH lens is not coded, and it shows.)

    There are, to my eyes at least, some clear differences... and more than just the bokeh. The ASPH lens seems to control flare better, as there are ghost spots on the lower portion of the shot with the pre-ASPH, but none with the newer lens. Also, there is a slight difference in perspective; the pre-ASPH being just a bit wider. (This difference may be accounted for by the fact that the ASPH lens is about .5cm longer. It also weighs 120 grams more than the weight of the pre-ASPH.)

    Here are the resulting images:
    35 Cron pre-ASPH version IV:


    35 Cron ASPH:



    Here, for comparison, are a couple of crops from the upper left corner at 100%.
    35 'cron ASPH:


    35 'cron pre-ASPH v.IV:


    (I noted a bit more noise in the ASPH shot, which may result from the vignetting from the uncoded lens.)

    And a couple of crops from the upper right corner at 100%.

    35 'cron ASPH:


    35 'cron pre-ASPH v.IV:


    I know it's all a matter of taste, and as I said, I love me pre-ASPH 35 'cron, but here there is a decided difference. The ASPH looks to be smoother; less busy looking. Both work, just different. Which is the "Bokeh King"? Your call.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    do you have access to the 35mm summiluxes?that was a good straightforward test Lloyd, well done...............nei1

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    I have the 35 Lux ASPH, but not the Pre-ASPH. If I can get my hands on one, I'll do a comparison.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    I have all three and the v4 in the right settings such as at f4 or f5.6 with a evenly lit background, it tends to have great bokeh.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWW View Post
    I have all three and the v4 in the right settings such as at f4 or f5.6 with a evenly lit background, it tends to have great bokeh.
    I agree. That's why I can't bring myself to part with it. That, and the fact that it's a great lens for shooting IR.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Here's a comparison of the two lenses at f4. I turned off the overhead light to get more even lighting.

    35 Cron ASPH:
    Attachment 13494

    35 Cron pre-ASPH ver. IV:
    Attachment 13495

    The pre-ASPH has bokeh more similar to my eyes here than wide open. The image is brighter, probably due to the fact that this lens is coded, and thus there is less vignette.
    Last edited by Lloyd; 30th September 2009 at 19:59.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Here they are at f5,6. Again, the pre-ASPH is brighter, even the the exposures are exactly the same. 1/12 @ f5.6.

    35 cron ASPH:
    Attachment 13496

    35 Cron pre-ASPH v.IV:
    Attachment 13497
    Last edited by Lloyd; 30th September 2009 at 19:59.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    You can also look at it "objectively" in that they are very different objects; not only in size and shape but also in optical design etc... If I had both I would keep them.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by gero View Post
    You can also look at it "objectively" in that they are very different objects; not only in size and shape but also in optical design etc... If I had both I would keep them.
    That's the plan!

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    There was a nice discussion of the 35's on LUF which Carsten started some time ago. Check it out, here is a link: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...s-35-cron.html

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    There was a nice discussion of the 35's on LUF which Carsten started some time ago. Check it out, here is a link: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...s-35-cron.html
    Will do, thanks.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Some people say the 35 ver. IV bokeh is not always creamy smooth and can be clumpy. At times I see this as well in backgrounds but I think where the "King" really excels is not in the far distant backgrounds but in the area about 10 feet from the subject (this varies of course depending on your distance to the subject). It also has a softness or "glow" (aberrations that are much better corrected in the newer ASPH designs) which adds some character that some like or dislike depending on the quality you are after in your images.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    Some people say the 35 ver. IV bokeh is not always creamy smooth and can be clumpy. At times I see this as well in backgrounds but I think where the "King" really excels is not in the far distant backgrounds but in the area about 10 feet from the subject (this varies of course depending on your distance to the subject). It also has a softness or "glow" (aberrations that are much better corrected in the newer ASPH designs) which adds some character that some like or dislike depending on the quality you are after in your images.
    I'd agree with that... on both ends of your comment.

    I've been looking at Carsten's images, and plan to do some different types of comparisons. Just for fun.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    in my humble opinion, the best bokeh of all the Crons is actually the one with the most aberrations -- the version 1, 8 element. much lower contrast that the two you tested, which renders colours more muted and the OOF more creamy.

    somebody asked about the Summilux pre-asph. i have one (1983) and it is probably my used lens. however, i find it's bokeh harsher than the Crons in most situations. at night, or in dark places with high ISO, though, it is gorgeous. wide open you get the "glow" but it can be flare-prone: it holds its own. in those situations, the v.1 Cron turns to mush, a veritable pea soup.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    I heard a number of people express the same opinion of the Cron v.1. I've never used it, but have seen some nice shots taken with it.

    As for the Lux pre-ASPH, your assessment mirrors what I saw on Carsten's thread on LUF (referenced above). Jack Flesher posted a number of examples from his pre-A in that thread, and the glow (as well as the at-times harsh OOF rendering) was very much evident.

    I'm planning a few more comparison shots (and hoping to find more interesting subject matter), and may do some on the M6 as well. It's all just for fun, and out of curiosity for me, as I enjoy both lenses, and find one works better in some situations than others. "Horses for courses."

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Interesting shots Lloyd. I think the general idea that the ASPH lenses have bad bokeh is quite untrue. It tends to be very neutral in my opinion. Every once in a while it can be jarring, but I think that is more because they have strong contrast even in the unfocused regions -- the older lenses tend to be a bit less contrasty in the bokeh.

    I did a fairly similar sort of thing a couple years ago if anyone is interested. It has other focal lengths as well, but 35mm there is the 35/1.4 ASPH and a 35/1.8 Canon:
    http://www.stuartrichardson.com/cuwo.htm
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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Thanks Stuart. Some very interesting comparisons. I need to spend a little more time with them, and I will.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Maybe it's just me but I find the out of focus areas of the ASPH more pleasing.

    A sharply focused subject popping out of the smooth and creamy unfocused portion of an image is an effect I attempt often. The lens that's provided the highest success rate in achieving this effect is the 35 cron ASPH (for me, on an M8).

    For whatever reason the 35 Cron ASPH doesn't get the respect it deserves. Lightweight, sharp, small, fast, no back-focus issues and a very useful focal length (on film or M8). I guess it's faults are that it doesn't boast of a 1.4 aperture and a 2009 re-design.

    One more thing, it's effective 47mm focal length on an M8 makes it much more useful than an effective 50mm length. Just enough extra FOV that one doesn't have to back up too far and yet still excellent at portraits.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    I do like that about the 'Cron ASPH. But the lens that accomplishes that effect most consistently for me is the 28 Cron.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Elvis, what do you mean by a 2009 re-design? Did one of the 35mm lenses get a re-design? I was not aware of that...
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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Stuart:

    No, I meant that since the 35 cron ASPH does NOT boast a new design it is not as popular as it otherwise might be. Sorry, if I caused any confusion. This lens certainly does not need a re-design.

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    I tend to agree on the 35 Cron ASPH, it does everything.......including Bokeh, extremely well.

    I see people raving about the look of the 28 Cron, but if we ever get a FF M digital, a 28 mm lens would be of no interest to me. I can live with the 24 ASPH being my cropped wide angle until a FF body comes along. Then my kit of lenses will be the same for film or digital

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    Re: Bokeh King?? A Quick Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seascape View Post
    I tend to agree on the 35 Cron ASPH, it does everything.......including Bokeh, extremely well.

    I see people raving about the look of the 28 Cron, but if we ever get a FF M digital, a 28 mm lens would be of no interest to me. I can live with the 24 ASPH being my cropped wide angle until a FF body comes along. Then my kit of lenses will be the same for film or digital
    I think on film Ms that 35 is my preferred perspective for most things, although I do love going wide when the opportunity presents. As for the 28 Cron, it's not the field of view that's special to me, it's the way that lens renders. Just can't get enough. And for a street shooter, on film... killer!! But then again, as with most things, it's a personal preference. YMMV.

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